The heartbreak of Friday night needs badly to be “Lessons Learned”. The Jackets fought as hard as all hoped Friday night against the # 9 team in the state. But Navarro just had less errors. Llano’s defense held the Navarro Panthers well below their season scoring average. Repeatedly the Jacket defense came up with big plays. Great play all night long came from seniors Drew Cooper, Mason Brooks, Dylan Inge, Christian Kirby, Kaleb Dodson, Kendall Downey, and Presley Lynch. These seniors play with a lot of heart. Play after play the gang tackling stopped the slot-T offense that has produced so many yards. Thinking sophomore linebacker Mason Baker had his best game. So too for juniors Logan Duggar and Jacob Cruz. Ryan Warner was in on tackle after tackle. Thomas Adams plays so hard every play. Great senior. And the secondary had to play just about on the line of scrimmage. Lynch, Justin Yocum, Christian, Aiden Cuthbertson, Inge, Duggar, Pogany. Guillermo Davila was very good in the middle of the line. Junior Quentin Franklin stopped all runs coming his way. And had great pursuit running away.
The slot T is hard to slow down. And while the Jackets held this high scoring, and highly state ranked team to 14 points, the advantage was still with the Panthers. Navarro had long drives of 13, 11, 6, and 8 plays without scoring. Thus limiting Llano to only 19 plays after the Jackets scored their only TD of the night with 8:44 left in the third quarter. A bring the crowd to their feet play when Cade hit junior Quincy Prince and a 61 yard TD pass…Yet, 19 plays!!!. And those plays only produced 13 net yards.
Quincy now has 4 TD catches of 43, 64, 75, and 61…plus an 84 yard TD kick off return.
The Jackets played winning football for the most part. Navarro, according to the Harris Poll, was a 25 point favorite. The Jackets should step back and see what they “nearly” did. Llano can play with anyone. It just needs to come together all in one game.
The offense has been brilliant many times this season. The Navarro defense was good and fast. No outside plays worked as their linebackers were too shift. Llano had early success running Mason off the corners with 4 runs and 15 yards in the first quarter. The Jackets’ 10 play drive in the first quarter, beginning at the 18 yard line had 7 running plays, and three completions by senior Cade Fly. Sophomore Case Kuykendall had a 32 yard catch out to the 40 yard line. Then senior Ethan Tisdale had a good catch for 11 yards and a Jacket first down. Cade then hit senior Brooks Keele for 16 yards down to the 21 yard line. Facing fourth down, in came sophomore Diego Miguel to kick his fourth successful field goal of the season and the score was 7-3, Panthers.
The Jackets are ready for prime time. Mistakes were costly, in a tough, close game. Key penalties hurt. The turnovers hurt. The dropped passes hurt. Yet one play away from a win. Our offensive line gets better. Tyler Lyndell, and Luke Hicks, along with senior Ethan Eastwood, Alex Shaw, Jose Villa, Heath Godrey, and Sean Hensley are all playing well. These guys I think can run block pretty darn good. But all, must work this week in practice on limiting the mistakes.
To beat Cuero, Llano will need to play their best games ever…everyone. The # 1 team in 4-A Div. 2, will not be taking Llano too serious. The Jackets have played Cuero two times in our history, both times in the play-offs. Llano played their socks off. We lost both times by 6 points. Llano has never been intimidated by Cuero. Might be because we never asked Cuero how good they were suppose to be! I truly believe the Jackets can play with the Gobblers. Our defense can play with anyone. Which can give our offense multiple chances to play steady, ball control football.
Llano can win when we get some running yards from Brooks and Donovan Arellano. Case needs the football 10 times a game. I think he can be just as effective when he gets the ball just a few yards deep. He can figure out which way is the goal line. And steady hands of Adams, Keele, Yocum, Downey, and Tisdale can keep the ball in Jacket hands.
For some reason, unknown to all, is Llano usually plays better out of town. The 175 mile trip to Cuero should give every player time to get mentally ready for this game. Predicting a win. Bring it home Jackets.